The Moody Eclipse 33 was and still is highly sought-after. Duncan Kent looks at one to see why

Moody Eclipse 33 review

See the November 2015 issue of Yachting Monthly for the full test

What’s she like to sail?

At first glance you think she’s going to perform like a typical motorsailer, dogged but slow. Take a more studied look at her hull shape – waterline, stem entry, narrow shoulders and so on – and you begin to wonder. Her hull has the lines of a reasonably modern yacht, although a tad beamier than normal for her era.

Knowing she had bilge keels also made me doubt her performance before we even left the quay, so it was a pleasant surprise to find she sailed considerably better than I had anticipated. We set out in a 10-12 knot south-westerly breeze and a flattish sea. We unfurled full sail in minutes and were soon comfortably reaching over Christchurch’s notorious bar, making a leisurely 5-knots out to sea. She tacked through 88°-90° swiftly, as we returned to the harbour entrance and hove to impressively.

The wind (and rain) increased through the day and, had I not been putting her through her paces I might well have stayed at the inside helm station, where the view forward is good until heavily heeled to port. Both wheels gave a light but stiff feel, due to the extra linkages, although she showed no signs of weather helm – even when a 24-knot gust tried to round her up.

Off the wind her weight tells and she slows markedly, but nothing a good cruising chute or spinnaker wouldn’t overcome.

What’s she like in port and at anchor?

At some point I believe we all start looking enviously at folk with deck saloons – especially during a summer like the one we’ve experienced this year! But what stops most of us from moving over to a boat that offers a bit of protection from the elements is usually the thought of a tubby yacht, sailing nowhere fast. Well, I’m glad to say the Moody Eclipse 33 isn’t one of them.

Below decks, she offers a surprising amount of comfortable living space. The raised saloon is a real boon, giving you a fantastic all-round view of the anchorage as well as providing enough seating for four to dine in comfort or six for cosy drinks. The large deckhouse windows also make the entire saloon, galley and navigation areas bright and cheery, whatever the weather.

She also has berths for six, comprising a big vee-berth forward, a surprisingly roomy double aft and a pull-out double in the saloon if you really want to pack them in. Her galley is also well-equipped with stowage and worksurface aplenty. I’ve also seen a smaller heads compartment in a 40ft boat!

Would she suit you and your crew?

There comes a time when comfort and warmth become more important than getting out on the water regardless. Now just past 60, I am starting to feel that way. You have three choices, really – move you or the boat somewhere warm and sunny, buy a deck saloon yacht, or give up sailing completely. I don’t intend to do the latter until I can no longer climb aboard and I’ve done the boat abroad bit. So that leaves the deckhouse option, which actually has the added benefit of stretching your sailing season. You’re far more likely to go winter sailing if you can pop below and warm up between tacks and dry your oilies out using hot air from the heating system. They really do have so much going for them, I can’t understand why they aren’t more popular.

Facts and figures

Guide price £40,000-£55,000

LOA 9.91m (32ft 6in)
LWL 8.54m (28ft 0in)
Beam 3.40m (11ft 2in)
Draught (Fin) 1.45m (4ft 9in)
Draught (Bilge) 1.12m (3ft 8in)
Displacement 5,910kg (13,000 lb)
Ballast 1,884kg (4,154 lb)
Ballast ratio 32%
Sail area 51.78m2 (525sq ft)
SA/D ratio 15.19
Diesel 182 litres (40 gal)
Water 295 litres (65 gal)
Engine 28hp Volvo 2003
Transmission Shaft drive
RCD category A-Ocean
Designer Bill Dixon
Builder Marine Projects, Plymouth
Owners Association